Nike and US Soccer today officially revealed a photo of the new home jersey for the US men’s national soccer team for 2012-13.
Unfortunately, as we first revealed in November 2011, the leaked photo is the same design that looks like a cross between the Where’s Waldo? character and a rugby shirt. To make it even worse, the sash returns to the design of the front of the shirt.
Traditionally soccer shirts are either plain or feature stripes, while rugby shirts have either plain colors or hoops. Nike can be forgiven for incorporating the red and white hoop design because it’s part of the red and white stripes of the US national flag. However, the shirt still looks unimpressive. And, in my opinion, the away jersey — while not fantastic — looks much better than the home one.
Luckily for US soccer fans, the new USA men’s home shirt is only for this year and next, which means the national team will have a different jersey design for the 2014 World Cup. Nevertheless, I’m really disappointed in Nike’s design and US Soccer approving it. To me, the United States is suffering an identity crisis. What should the color of the US men’s national team home jersey be? When I think of the US men’s national team playing in their home colors, I picture them playing in white with red and blue trim. As you can see from this pictorial history, the USMNT has played predominantly in white home shirts since 1984. The exception is the US home shirt for the 1994 World Cup, which was designed by Adidas, and featured the red and white wavy lines.
Some critics will argue that it matters what the US does on the field and not what they wear. I completely agree. But if US Soccer wants to generate increased streams of revenue so it can pump more money into the game, it’s important that the designs that US Soccer and Nike agree on look professional and attractive. Right now, it feels as if Nike and US Soccer is either trying too hard, or they’ve lost sight of what the US is all about.
Perhaps for future designs of the US men’s national team shirt, US Soccer and Nike will allow the fans to vote on their favorite. Somehow I imagine that if they had a choice this time around, the Where’s Waldo? design wouldn’t have been the top pick.